Rarely do we think of this. We “experience” struggle, and we want out of it. We “experience” difficultly, and we want the answer. We “experience” hardship, and we want to idle.
After seventeen years of education, four of them collegiate, I have realized this is the greatest thing I lack. Experience. Yes I have learned. Yes I have absorbed. I have read the theory and done the work. But have I experienced
In any science class there is two parts. There is book learning and there is lab. One is about obtaining knowledge. The other about experience. The former is growing to understand concepts and learning from the past. But it is followed by lab. It is followed by experience.
Experience is what gives us life. If we do not experience, we do not live. My time at Judson has offered many chances to experience. A six-week trip across Europe led to an experience of a lifetime. Projects that continual challenge my mental and physical capacity. And history exams that challenged my spelling fortitude. Every one of these was an experience. Experiences that affected me profoundly.
But Aldous Huxley says, “Experience is not what happens to a man; it is what a man does with what happens to him.” So while all these experiences affected me deeply, they all occurred in the framework of a collegiate education. They were part of the curriculum. They were mandated by the school. They were predetermined by the system. I did not create them. But experience is not what happens to me, it is what I do with what happens to me.
Experience is true. Experience is real. But what we do with that experience is what shapes us. It shows our truest colors. It makes us who we are.